Hacking my 100 Year Old Pantry

I live in a farmhouse that has just celebrated it’s one hundredth birthday this year! Built in 1917, my house is what many would call ‘charming’, which is a very polite way of saying old and in need of work- but homey.

Fortunately , the kitchen and pluming were added on later, and part of as part of that addition I have a fabulously tall pantry that touches the 9 1/2 foot ceilings in our downstairs. Unfortunately, this glorious pantry also houses a big hot water heater, and old warped boards for shelves.
 Being a old home in the middle of nowhere surrounded by farm fields has many benefits, however the mice that live in the surrounding fields have decided they would like to reap those benefits as well.
 The result?
Excellent pantry organization and food lock-down.
 One of my favorite ideas for pantry organization was an idea I got from my grandmother in West Virginia. She had all her cereals, flour, sugar, and other loose grains in plastic containers to help seal freshness and protect against critters.

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 I found these at Walmart for a modest $7-$10 per container – the price varying with size.  They are extremely user friendly and have an air tight lid sealed by lowering a handle that allows easy access without fuss. I kid you not, I had a box of Rice Krispies survive for MONTHS inside this container without going stale.
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This container for your bread is another easy buy, five dollars at most supermarkets, and can really stretch the life of your loaf! Insert the bag and bread into the container and fold the extra over the sides. As you use the bread, pull down on the excess on the outside to bring the bread closer to the top, and seal with the lid! This has given me a week (or more!!) past the date on breads that usually go moldy or stale.
Another favorite pantry tip is using a storage tub for your small similar items. I have a small storage tub that contains my baking powder, soda, salt, confectioner sugar, vanilla extract, and other commonly used items in homemade baking. This way, when I pull a recipe, I’m only likely to need that tub instead of multiple trips to the pantry.

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And you can always reuse your mason jars! Any glass jars (spaghetti sauce, apple sauce, pickles) can be washed and reused to house rice, home dried herbs, and pasta.
When organizing, keep in mind the idea of shelving like things together.

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Grains, pastas, and pasta sauces on the same shelf, canned goods together, peanut butter and jelly near the bread, baking items together… etc. This helps prevent the “oops, I already had three of those but didn’t know and just bought two more” while unloading from your latest grocery run.
 What about you? What are your favorite tips and tricks for keeping your pantry organized?
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Ashley Wenner is a full time wife and mother with a side singing career. She has one child, a sweet and mischievously smart little girl, who is less than two years old, and two horse-sized german shepherds – all of whom keep her on her toes with her daily house cleaning. Ashley started and ran her own house keeping business throughout high school and college to pay the bills. She learned many tricks of the trade while elbow-deep in other peoples households, and attempts to put them to every day use while chasing her little one. Although her home is far from Better Homes & Gardens worthy, her hundred-year-old farmhouse is charming and well loved.

 

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